Dr. Martin Thullner


Dr. Martin Thullner
Senior Scientist, Head of Geomicrobial Reactive Transport Systems Group

Department of Environmental Microbiology
Working Group Geomicrobial Reactive Transport Systems
Helmholtz Centre
for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany

Phone +49 341 235-1338
Fax +49 341 235-451338

Martin Thullner

Research Interests

My research activities focus on reactive transport modeling of subsurface environments. Of particular interest are biogeochemical/geomicrobial processes involved in the microbial degradation of organic carbon species (contaminants or natural organic matter) in aquifers or aquatic sediments. Research topics include

  • microbial community dynamics and their implication on biogeochemical reactions
  • competition between organic carbon degradation pathways in redox stratified systems
  • limitation of microbial activity due to bioavailability of nutrients
  • upscaling of pore scale processes to the macro scale
  • microbially induced isotope fractionation
  • influence of microbial growth on hydraulic properties of porous media (bioclogging)

Current Research Activity

see group page

Geomicrobial Reactive Transport Systems

Model Development and Environmental Applications
(GReaT MoDE)



Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Department of Environmental Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland


M.Sc. in Physics, Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany

CV / Scientific Career

since 2013

Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada

since 2007

Assistant Professor, Department of Earth Sciences - Geochemistry, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

since 2005

Senior Research Associate, Department of Environmental Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany


Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Earth Sciences - Geochemistry, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands


Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Recent Publications

  • Alvarez-Zaldívar, P., Centler, F., Maier, U., Thullner, M., Imfeld, G., (2016):
    Biogeochemical modelling of in situ biodegradation and stable isotope fractionation of intermediate chloroethenes in a horizontal subsurface flow wetland
    Ecol. Eng. 90 , 170 - 179
    Volltext (URL)
  • Khan, A.M., Wick, L.Y., Harms, H., Thullner, M., (2016):
    Biodegradation of vapor-phase toluene in unsaturated porous media: Column experiments
    Environ. Pollut. 211 , 325 - 331
    Volltext (URL)
  • Newcomer, M.E., Hubbard, S.S., Fleckenstein, J.H., Maier, U., Schmidt, C., Thullner, M., Ulrich, C., Flipo, N., Rubin, Y., (2016):
    Simulating bioclogging effects on dynamic riverbed permeability and infiltration
    Water Resour. Res. 52 (4), 2883 - 2900
    Volltext (URL)
  • Otto, S., Banitz, T., Thullner, M., Harms, H., Wick, L.Y., (2016):
    Effects of facilitated bacterial dispersal on the degradation and emission of a desorbing contaminant
    Environ. Sci. Technol. 50 (12), 6320 - 6326
    Volltext (URL)
  • Stefanakis, A.I., Seeger, E., Dorer, C., Sinke, A., Thullner, M., (2016):
    Performance of pilot-scale horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands treating groundwater contaminated with phenols and petroleum derivatives
    Ecol. Eng. 95 , 514 - 526
    Volltext (URL)
  • Stolpovsky, K., Fetzer, I., van Cappellen, P., Thullner, M., (2016):
    Influence of dormancy on microbial competition under intermittent substrate supply: insights from model simulations
    FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 92 (6), fiw071
    Volltext (URL)
  • Worrich, A., König, S., Banitz, T., Centler, F., Frank, K., Thullner, M., Harms, H., Miltner, A., Wick, L.Y., Kaestner, M., (2016):
    Bacterial dispersal promotes biodegradation in heterogeneous systems exposed to osmotic stress
    Frontiers in Microbiology 7 , art. 1214
    Volltext (URL)
  • Worrich, A., König, S., Miltner, A., Banitz, T., Centler, F., Frank, K., Thullner, M., Harms, H., Kästner, M., Wick, L.Y., (2016):
    Mycelium-like networks increase bacterial dispersal, growth, and biodegradation in a model ecosystem at various water potentials
    Appl. Environ. Microb. 82 (10), 2902 - 2908
    Volltext (URL)
  • Centler, F., Thullner, M., (2015):
    Chemotactic preferences govern competition and pattern formation in simulated two-strain microbial communities
    Frontiers in Microbiology 6 , art. 40
    Volltext (URL)
  • Gharasoo, M., Centler, F., van Cappellen, P., Wick, L.Y., Thullner, M., (2015):
    Kinetics of substrate biodegradation under the cumulative effects of bioavailability and self-inhibition
    Environ. Sci. Technol. 49 (9), 5529 - 5537
    Volltext (URL)
  • Richter, S., Fetzer, I., Thullner, M., Centler, F., Dittrich, P., (2015):
    Towards rule-based metabolic databases: a requirement analysis based on KEGG
    Int. J. Data Min. Bioinform. 13 (3), 289 - 319
    Volltext (URL)
  • Gharasoo, M., Centler, F., Fetzer, I., Thullner, M., (2014):
    How the chemotactic characteristics of bacteria can determine their population patterns
    Soil Biol. Biochem. 69 , 346 - 358
    Volltext (URL)
  • Heße, F., Prykhodko, V., Attinger, S., Thullner, M., (2014):
    Corrigendum to “Assessment of the impact of pore-scale mass-transfer restrictions on microbially-induced stable-isotope fractionation” [ADWR 74C (2014) 79–90]
    Adv. Water Resour. 74 , 329
    Volltext (URL)
  • Heße, F., Prykhodko, V., Attinger, S., Thullner, M., (2014):
    Assessment of the impact of pore-scale mass-transfer restrictions on microbially-induced stable-isotope fractionation
    Adv. Water Resour. 74 , 79 - 90
    Volltext (URL)
  • Centler, F., Heße, F., Thullner, M., (2013):
    Estimating pathway-specific contributions to biodegradation in aquifers based on dual isotope analysis: theoretical analysis and reactive transport simulations
    J. Contam. Hydrol. 152 , 97 - 116
    Volltext (URL)
  • De Biase, C., Carminati, A., Oswald, S.E., Thullner, M., (2013):
    Numerical modeling analysis of VOC removal processes in different aerobic vertical flow systems for groundwater remediation
    J. Contam. Hydrol. 154 , 53 - 69
    Volltext (URL)
  • Leibeling, S., Maeß, M.B., Centler, F., Kleinsteuber, S., von Bergen, M., Thullner, M., Harms, H., Müller, R.H., (2013):
    Posttranslational oxidative modification of (R)-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)propionate/α-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases (RdpA) leads to improved degradation of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetate (2,4-D)
    Eng. Life Sci. 13 (3), 278 - 291
    Volltext (URL)
  • Nick, H.M., Raoof, A., Centler, F., Thullner, M., Regnier, P., (2013):
    Reactive dispersive contaminant transport in coastal aquifers: Numerical simulation of a reactive Henry problem
    J. Contam. Hydrol. 145 , 90 - 104
    Volltext (URL)
  • Regnier, P., Friedlingstein, P., Ciais, P., Mackenzie, F.T., Gruber, N., Janssens, I.A., Laruelle, G.G., Lauerwald, R., Luyssaert, S., Andersson, A.J., Arndt, S., Arnosti, C., Borges, A.V., Dale, A.W., Gallego-Sala, A., Goddéris, Y., Goossens, N., Hartmann, J., Heinze, C., Ilyina, T., Joos, F., LaRowe, D.E., Leifeld, J., Meysman, F.J.R., Munhoven, G., Raymond, P.A., Spahni, R., Suntharalingam, P., Thullner, M., (2013):
    Anthropogenic perturbation of the carbon fluxes from land to ocean
    Nat. Geosci. 6 (8), 597 - 606
    Volltext (URL)
  • Thullner, M., Fischer, A., Richnow, H.-H., Wick, L.Y., (2013):
    Influence of mass transfer on stable isotope fractionation
    Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 97 (2), 441 - 452
    Volltext (URL)